The Supreme Court of India granted a woman’s request to allow her to abort her late-term unborn child this week, the Hindustan Times reports.
Abortions are illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy in India unless the woman’s life is in danger. However, abortion advocates recently have been pushing the government to legalize late-term abortions.
Meera Pal, 22, of Dombivli, India petitioned the court to allow her to abort her unborn baby after the legal limit after doctors diagnosed the baby with anencephaly, a brain malformation that typically is fatal. According to the report, Meera Pal is 24 weeks pregnant with the baby and plans to have the abortion on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court of India gave her permission to abort the baby on Monday, the report states.
Here’s more from the report:
Pal’s husband, Santosh, said that they are anxious and are hoping that the procedure gets over safely.
“Doctors have told me that it will take 48 hours for the entire procedure. I hope everything goes about smoothly,” he said.
… Dr Nikhil Datar, medical director, Cloudnine Hospital, Malad, who was the co-petitioner in the case, said the government must push the abortion ceiling to 24 weeks as soon as possible.
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“Not every pregnant woman who has crossed the deadline of 20 weeks has access to file a petition in the apex court,” he said. “One cannot imagine the anxiety the woman goes through when she learns that her baby has a fatal condition but she cannot undergo abortion because she has crossed 20 weeks of pregnancy,” said Datar, also a gynaecologist.
Just a few countries allow late-term abortions for any reason when unborn babies are viable outside the womb. The United States and Canada are among them.
Recently, a number of U.S. states passed laws prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks when strong scientific evidence indicates that unborn babies can feel pain. Last week, Kentucky became the 16th state to pass a law.
Together, these laws potentially are saving thousands of babies’ lives in America. There were at least 5,770 late-term abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy in 2013 in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Another approximate 8,150 abortions took place between 18 weeks and 20 weeks, the CDC reports.